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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Finance > Debt capital markets > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Debt capital markets
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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At¬†Allen & Overy LLP, 'the level of service is super'. The firm is widely regarded as one of the leaders in the market for MTN programmes, standalone bonds, liability management, equity-linked transactions,¬†regulatory capital deals and subordinated debt, as well as having a strong US law capability in London.¬†Jonathan Melton¬†leads the practice and advised the joint lead managers on a combined $1.5bn in issuance by Vimpelcom Holdings.¬†Matthew Hartley¬†advises investment banks and issuers - including sovereigns, supra-nationals, corporates, banks and mutuals - on the full gamut of international capital markets transactions. His highlights included advising¬†Bank of America Merrill Lynch on a ‚ā¨3bn issuance by the¬†Hellenic Republic.¬†Philip Smith¬†advises lead managers and issuers on public and private deals. His highlights included acting for the¬†lead managers in the establishment of CPI Property Group's ‚ā¨1.25bn EMTN programme.¬†Theo Trayhurn's broad practice includes¬†regulatory capital issuance by financial institutions and high-profile blue chip corporate bond offerings.¬†Tom Grant¬†recently acted in numerous¬†bank and insurance capital issues and corporate hybrid transactions.¬†Jamie Durham¬†stands out for¬†regulatory capital, emerging markets, Islamic finance, liability management and equity-linked¬†transactions.¬†US-qualified¬†Sachin Dav√©¬†handles¬†Rule 144a, Regulation S and other private placement transactions for¬†governments, issuers and investment banks.

Clifford Chance LLP¬†has 'a long track record in high-value and complex deals, including new and innovative deal structures'. The group acts for leading financial institutions, corporates, governments and supranational organisations across the world. Its work encompasses¬†investment grade bonds, regulatory capital and hybrid transactions, liability management, Eurobonds and EMTN programmes, equity-linked products, sovereign debt issuance, project bonds and emerging markets debt offerings. Its work on innovative transactions continued last year with its work for a leading investment bank on the issuance of green bonds. Head of capital markets¬†Simon Sinclair¬†led that deal. He also worked with newly promoted partner¬†Paul Deakins¬†, who¬†is 'a superstar', on the securing of consent solicitations for tier 2 and tier 1 notes, and the issuance of ‚ā¨750m in new tier 1 notes, for Nordea Bank as part of its decision to redomicile from Sweden to Finland. Sinclair also assisted Co-operative Bank with numerous offerings in 2017, including the issuance of ¬£400m in senior notes.¬†Newly promoted partner¬†Clare Burgess¬†is an expert in project bonds and she advised two leading Danish pension funds on the acquisition of a 50% stake in the¬†developer of the Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm, which was financed using a combination of bonds, equity and loans. The firm has a deep bench of experienced partners such as¬†Stewart Dunlop¬†, who is a leading light in liability management;¬†John Connolly, who leads the firm's US group and handles¬†Rule 144A offerings, private placements and Regulation S deals; London managing partner¬†David Bickerton, who handles infrastructure and project finance capital markets; and¬†David Dunnigan¬†who advises sovereigns, major corporations and financial institutions.

Linklaters LLP is 'a go-to firm for any investment grade debt and it has the ability to handle both plain vanilla and esoteric products'. Liability management and retail bonds specialist Elaine Keats, who acted for British American Tobacco Group on the issuance of $17.5bn in notes, leads the practice, which has a deep bench of talent across all aspects of DCM. For some, Richard Levy is 'the best counsel in London, especially for complex products; he is super-technical and commercial'. Keith Thomson handles debt and equity-linked transactions in the Euro markets and is a specialist in convertible and exchangeable bonds. Thomson and Ben Dulieu are 'the two lawyers everyone in equity-linked seeks out for transactions'. Carson Welsh focuses on regulatory capital transactions, which last year included advising Banco Santander on $250m in second ranking senior notes, which are new types of security in the Spanish market. US-qualified Cecil Quillen is also recommended for regulatory capital deals. Richard O’Callaghan has significant MENA and emerging markets expertise, and clients note that he is ' highly skilled and responsive, with a particular expertise in more complex issues'. Neil Dixon is 'outstanding - he has the complete confidence of clients and is always up-to-date with market developments in the incredibly technical world of financial services regulatory capital'. Managing associate Manoj Tulsiani is 'very technical and commercial and doesn't waste any time'.

The London capital markets practice at White & Case LLP has more than 60 lawyers covering debt, equity, high yield, structured finance and derivatives, around half of whom focus mainly on debt-related products. The firm not only has a leading role in emerging markets debt, but it is a prominent player in regulatory capital and liability management transactions, exchangeable and convertible bonds, and restructuring. The practice has partners highly skilled in both US and English law, and has a leading position in sovereign debt deals, having closed ten deals during 2017 including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's $12.5bn notes issue on behalf of arrangers and dealers including Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan and Bank of China. US capital markets partner Ian Clark led that deal, and he also acted for Ukraine's Ministry of Finance on a $3bn issue. Global practice head Stuart Matty and key US securities law partner Melissa Butler are 'very user-friendly and have excellent technical knowledge of the products, and are good at giving no-nonsense advice'. Richard Pogrel , who 'gives a service that is personal and tailor-made', stands out for equity-linked and liability management transactions. Last year, he assisted global co-ordinator JPMorgan Securities with a combined £3.5bn in mandatorily exchangeable bond issuance by Volcan Holdings. Francis Fitzherbert-Brockholes, who is 'very accommodating to clients and very well aware of their interests', is dual-qualified in US and English law and he recently acted for Svenska Handelsbanken in the annual update of its $20bn US MTN programme and the subsequent issuance of $1.5bn in notes. US law counsel Doron Loewinger is also highly regarded. Michael Doran joined Baker McKenzie.

At¬†Ashurst¬†¬†'the overall level of service is very good and the value for money for the high-quality advice received makes it stand out from other firms'. Head of debt capital markets¬†Anna Delgado¬†specialises in both¬†debt and equity-linked capital markets issues for issuers and underwriters. Her highlights from 2017 included acting for Tritax Big Box, which is¬†the only listed vehicle dedicated to investing in very large logistics warehouse assets, in its¬†inaugural ¬£500m offering of unsecured bonds issued under its ¬£1.5bn EMTN programme. 'Brilliant'¬†infrastructure and energy finance partner¬†Derwin Jenkinson¬†handles both capital markets and loan financings. He advised¬†Allianz Global Investors on its provision of ¬£127.6m in 40-year, index-linked bonds to finance a student accommodation development at the University of Hull.¬†Francis Kucera¬†advises¬†investment banks and issuers on¬† emerging market financings, particularly in Eastern Europe and the CIS region. He assisted lead managers including¬†Citigroup and Deutsche Bank with a Eurobond issued by the State of Montenegro. 'His¬†knowledge is excellent and he can always be relied upon to provide comprehensive advice on difficult subjects', say clients of¬†head of corporate trust¬†Malcolm Charles.¬†Alexander Biles¬†is a rising star, as evidenced by his work for arranger Lloyds Bank on on the update of DS Smith's ‚ā¨2.5bn EMTN programme and the dual-tranche issue of ¬£250m and ‚ā¨750m in notes. Key to this deal was counsel¬†Christopher Hardingham,¬†who is recommended for international bond issuance, EMTN programmes, European commercial paper and certificate of deposit programmes.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has a team of four partners and two counsel who focus predominantly on debt deals as part of their broader capital markets practices. The firm is a key player in the emerging markets debt space, in which it handles high-end and innovative transactions. Highlights included advising the government of the Russian Federation on its return to the international capital markets. The London practice also works closely with the firm's Moscow office to represent Russian issuers. Leading light David Gottlieb acted for UC Rusal in a $600m Eurobond offering to refinance the company's existing debt, and a subsequent $500m deal. The firm also handles large transactions outside the emerging markets, which included a combined $3bn offering by BP Capital on behalff of underwriters Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and UBS Investment Bank. Pierre-Marie Boury and counsel Sarah Lewis led that deal. Gottlieb and Raj Panasar also advised Credit Suisse on numerous matters in 2017, with total issuance of $4bn in securities that are intended to qualify as Total Loss Absorbing Capital (TLAC) under rules developed by the Financial Stability Board and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. Other key partners in the practice are US capital markets specialist Sebastian Sperber and sovereign debt expert Jim Ho. Newly promoted counsel Aseet Dalvi is qualified in US, English and Canadian law.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP¬†has a longstanding presence in Europe, where it is regarded as one of the leaders in¬†US-dollar investment grade debt. The firm has a strong reputation for capital markets work across the world and the London office is a key hub for its global practice. It is home to a three-partner team that handled numerous high-value transactions for issuers, underwriters and dealer managers in 2017. Prime examples were the $17.25bn Rule 144a/Regulation S notes offering by British American Tobacco, in which the firm acted for initial purchasers, and the ‚ā¨4.7bn cash tender offer and consent solicitation by Novo Banco, in which the firm acted for the dealer managers.¬†Reuven Young¬†was the key lawyer in both of those deals and he also acted for Royal Bank of Scotland Group in its $3bn SEC-registered offering.¬†Simon Witty, who also worked on the Novo Banco transaction, is also recommended.¬†John Banes¬†is the third key name in the practice and his highlights included acting for Lloyds Banking Group in its offering of SEC-registered notes with a combined value of¬†$5.5bn. He also handled BMW Group's Rule 144a/Regulation S offering of notes with an aggregate value of $2.2bn.

Dentons¬†has a strong emerging markets debt practice and is continuing to invest in the capital markets team. Having brought in¬†Nick Hayday¬†from¬†Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP¬†and¬†US securities partner¬†Cameron Half¬†from¬†Allen & Overy LLP, the firm subsequently added highly regarded trustee partner¬†Catriona Llloyd¬†from¬†Linklaters LLP¬†to round out its DCM capability. From London, the firm provides¬†English and US securities law expertise to advise on international bond issues across Africa, the Middle East, Turkey and Central and Eastern Europe. Its work encompasses sovereign debt and notes offerings by financial institutions and energy companies, as well as liability management transactions and sukuks. It also handles debt restructuring and defaults for¬†corporate trustees. Head of debt capital markets¬†David Cohen¬†has a long track record of emerging markets transactions and with Hayday he advised¬†Lietuvos Energija, which is one of¬†the largest state-owned energy companies in the Baltic region, on the establishment of an EMTN programme and its ‚ā¨300m¬†debut Regulation S green bond issue. Hayday's highlights also included acting for Hurricane Energy in its $520m fundraising, which included $230m of convertible bonds, to develop¬†untapped oilfields on the UK continental shelf. Half handled the US securities aspects of that deal. Also recommended are¬†Nikolas Colbridge¬†and rising star associate¬†Gareth Burton.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is 'very responsive and always delivers when it says; the advice is to-the-point and pragmatic and the joined-up team takes the effort to understand the client's business'. The practice advises both issuers and managers on a range of debt instruments that includes standalone bonds, regulatory capital offerings, MTN programmes, private placements, equity-linked transactions and liability management deals. Andrew Roberts and Amy Geddes are 'very responsive and have a wide and strong range of knowledge across different issues'. Emerging markets debt is a key focus for the practice and forms a key element of the work of Tom O’Neill, who leads the US securities practice, and Dinesh Banani, who advises issuers and investment banks on international capital markets financings, including Rule 144A securities offerings of both equity and debt. Roberts and Banani acted for United Bank for Africa in its $500m debut Rule 144A/Regulation S issuance. Senior associate and rising star Mark Dickinson also played a key role in that deal. Senior associate Theresa Matts 'has great client skills and really knows her stuff'. She acted as part of a broader banking and finance team to assist Tideway with the update of its £10bn debt issuance programme.

Latham & Watkins¬†has a team of 'practical, commercial and hands-on problem solvers' and its US capital markets practice is one of the largest in London. Its emerging markets workload includes representation of¬†both issuers and investment banks on landmark and multi-jurisdictional debt offerings in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The practice advised initial purchasers including Citigroup and Goldman Sachs on the $500m debut issuance by Turkish petrochemicals company Petkim¬†Petrokimya. Sovereign deals are another key feature of the practice and a highlight was the firm's work for joint bookrunners on a $3bn notes offering by the government of Ukraine, which was listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. Both deals were led by key partners¬†¬†Lene Malthasen¬†and¬†David Stewart, who¬†is primarily based in Moscow but spends a significant amount of time in the London office. Malthasen is developing¬†the firm's English and European debt practice, as well as playing a leading role in emerging markets work, and she has extensive experience in liability management transactions. The London practice is also active in the US private placements market, and Malthasen represented TWINSET on a ‚ā¨170m notes issue. Counsel¬†James Baxter¬†also played a key role in that transaction.

Mayer Brown International LLP¬†'does a great job - the lawyers are always available and they deliver a great overall level of service'. The dedicated three-partner DCM team has extensive US law capability in London. In an example of its strong flow of Canadian issuer work, the team acted on the update of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board's C$25bn global MTN programme and its issuance of $2bn in fixed rate notes. The practice also handled F√©d√©ration des caisses Desjardins du Qu√©bec's¬†‚ā¨7bn MTN programme.¬†Its work for blue-chip European corporates included a ‚ā¨600m notes offering by Novartis AG. Key to all three of these deals was¬†James Taylor, who is 'one of the best for Canadian covered bond issuance; he is knowledgeable, practical and transaction-oriented, and he adds real value'. He also plays a key role in the firm's emerging markets debt work, which included representing Turkey's Vakifbank in its invitation to holders of its $900m outstanding subordinated notes. He also advises¬†>issuers and underwriters on high-profile reverse Yankee bonds, which included acting for joint lead managers on a ‚ā¨600m offering by Whirlpool Corporation.¬†Bernd Bohr¬†is 'extremely precise, reliable and business-minded and has a very good knowledge of the industry'.¬†US and France qualified¬†Robert Flanigan¬†handles numerous deals in southern Europe. He advised Spain's Liberbank on its ‚ā¨300m inaugural bond issue.

'The service is excellent and the team very strong', says a client of Norton Rose Fulbright, adding that the practice has 'strong leadership and extremely high competence'. Consultant¬†Andrew Carmichael, who joined from¬†Linklaters LLP¬†in late 2017, leads the DCM practice in London, which is seen as a leading player in the¬†emerging markets debt space, as well as having a strong practice for sovereign debt, project bonds and debt restructuring. Its work in Africa included advising¬†South African mobile operator Cell C on cross-border debt capital markets, bank finance and equity restructuring to reduce its net financial debt, which entailed¬†the issue of two secured bonds. The key partner on that deal was¬†Peter Young, who is 'a down-to-earth guy with strong knowledge and great availability; it is a real pleasure working with him'. One client remarks that 'his professionalism and manners are simply impeccable'.¬†Farmida Bi¬†is another leading light in the practice and she handled an innovative deal for the¬†International Committee Of The Red Cross, which issued an ‚ā¨18m humanitarian impact bond to raise money from social investors. Her work on sovereign debt deals included advising the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on¬†its combined $2.5bn sukuk and Eurobond issuance. The Canada desk is another highlight of the London practice and¬†Peter Noble¬†is the lead partner. He acted for¬†Bank of Nova Scotia and Scotiabank Europe in the renewal of their $20bn EMTN programme.¬†US partner¬†Nikolai Mikhailov, of counsel Jacqueline Heng¬†and senior associate¬†Andrew Coote¬†are also recommended.

Shearman & Sterling LLP delivers 'great service including fast responses, good availability and good communication within the team'. One client remarks that on structured deals and project bonds the practice is 'incredibly responsive and provides excellent, commercially focused advice'. The practice in London handles capital raisings under US and English law for a range of issuers and underwriters. On the issuer side it acted for Nokia Corporation on its $1bn senior notes offering, and its tender offers for up to $1.5bn in existing debt. Underwriter-side highlights included acting for RBS Securities in Royal Bank of Scotland Group's $3bn senior notes offering. David Dixter is the key partner in London and led on those deals. Newly promoted partner Pawel Szaja is 'extremely hardworking and consistently demonstrates that he is on top of even the most complex briefs'. He worked with Marwa Elborai to assist a syndicate of banks including Citigroup Global Markets Limited and China Construction Bank on ACWA Power Management and Investments One Limited's $814m senior secured bond offering. Counsel Alejandro Gordano is also recommended. Anglo American, HSBC and JPMorgan are also among the firm's clients.

Simmons & Simmons is known as a key adviser on high-end debt capital markets transactions for large corporates such as British Land, Rentokil, Pearson and fintech company LendInvest. It also acts for many of the world's leading investment banks. The 'knowledgeable, calm' Piers Summerfield is 'a very commercial and pragmatic lawyer'; he acted alongside the 'commercial, business-oriented' Jonathan Mellor for Stifel on a $250m convertible bond offering by UK-based oil and gas company Hurricane Energy. Summerfield also acted for LendInvest in the establishment of its £500m EMTN programme. The other key partners in the practice are Simon Ovenden, who has 30 years' experience in corporate and sovereign bond issuances, and Charles Hawes, who frequently advises arrangers and institutional investors. Ovenden's highlights included assisting Wal-Mart Stores with two cash tender offers, one valued at $5bn and the other $2.5bn. US securities partner Christopher Walton, who joined from Clifford Chance LLP, focuses on equity and debt capital markets transactions across the EMEA region.

Slaughter and May¬†provides 'excellent service with very prompt responses, and the partners are definitely across the issues'. The firm is best known for¬†advising corporate issuers on equity-linked, hybrid capital and subordinated debt transactions. It has a client roster that includes many FTSE 100 companies and it recently handled a global bond liability management exercise for BHP Billiton, which included a $2.5bn debt repurchase plan.¬†The practice handles a broad range of work including regular debt issuances, such as the ‚ā¨550m offering of senior secured notes for INEOS Finance;¬†first-time issuances such as the $920m offering by corrugated packaging company DS Smith; and issuances in key industry sectors such as aviation, pharmaceuticals, and food and beverage. Its work for financial institutions and insurance companies also stands out. It handled an ¬£895m issuance for RSA Insurance Group, as well as a ¬£500m offering for Santander UK Group.¬†Matthew Tobin¬†leads the team, which brings together partners with skills across a wide range of debt, equity, loan and structured finance matters. He led the team that advised SEGRO plc on the cash tender for the buyback of sterling bonds and the subsequent issue of ¬£750m in new debt. The 'commercially astute'¬†Guy O‚ÄôKeefe, the 'technically very gifted'¬†Caroline Phillips,¬†Oliver Storey¬†and¬†Oliver Wicker¬†are 'exceptional - their ability to work to challenging timelines is second-to-none'. The 'creative and solution-driven'¬†Robert Byk¬†is also recommended.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP¬†'benefits from its approach of having an integrated debt team that provides real advice rather than opinions'. Its integrated US and English law practice is a key strength in the DCM space and enables the firm to play a key role in high-value, multi-jurisdictional offerings. The firm counts some of the world's leading investment banks among its clients and it recently acted for Barclays in its extensive SEC-registered debt issuance programmes, which included advice on capital securities and structured products.¬†John O‚Äôconnor¬†was the key partner involved.¬†Vanessa Blackmore¬†is the leading light of the practice and has a broad¬†domestic and international corporate practice that encompasses debt financing and liability management. She recently acted for longstanding client¬†Royal Philips on its Eurobond offering, which had a combined value of ‚ā¨1bn and was used in the prepayment of a bridge loan to fund the acquisition of The Spectranetics Corporation. Chris Beatty¬†focuses mainly on high yield debt, but he also played a key role in that deal. Blackmore also assisted Coca-Cola HBC Group with its ‚ā¨3bn MTN programme.¬†Kathryn Campbell¬†and¬†John Horsfield-Bradbury¬†are highly regarded and their recent work included advising BP on its $3.2bn SEC-registered bond offering. European counsel¬†Oderisio de Vito Piscicelli, whose clients include Italian electricity company Enel, is also recommended.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld exhibits 'a thorough knowledge of the products, its clients and their business, as well as business acumen and quick response times'. The practice has carved out a leading role in cross-border debt private placements, thanks in part to Barry Russell, who is considered 'the king of private placement restructurings' and regularly acts for institutional investors on the issuance of private placement notes to UK and US investors. He led a team that advised holders of privately placed notes issued by Premier Oil UK on the restructuring of approximately $3bn of debt. Robert Aulsebrook acts for issuers on offerings of Eurobonds, loan notes, convertible debt securities and commercial paper; he has been the lead lawyer on debt offerings totalling more than $10bn for Russian oil company PJSC LUKOIL. Mark Mansell represents insurance companies and other financial institutions on cross-border private placements and other debt financing transactions. Sarah Smith stands out for  public and privately-placed structured finance transactions, which include structured debt private placements.

Arnold & Porter has 'one of the most experienced practices for sovereign debt deals and has partners who have been in that market longer than most'. The firm acts predominantly for sovereign issuers in international debt transactions and its stellar list of clients includes the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, the State of Israel, the Republic of Costa Rica and the Federative Republic of Brazil. Its recent work includes innovative and challenging deals such as the $300m debut offering of diaspora bonds by the Republic of Nigeria. The deal represented the first time a sovereign issued tradeable, registered bonds approved for distribution to retail investors, particularly the Nigerian diaspora, in the US and UK, and it was the first retail bond of its kind from any sovereign. For the Republic of Turkey, the practice in London worked on a $1.25 billion sukuk offering, which involved the issuance of lease certificates representing interests in Turkish government real estate assets that were transferred to the issuer and leased back to the government. Jeremy Willcocks led both deals and is the key partner in London. He works closely with former US Executive Director of the World Bank Whitney Debevoise, who splits his time between London and Washington DC.

Baker McKenzie's London office is a key hub for emerging markets debt issuance, in which the firm is one of the most prominent players. Frequently acting for first-time issuers, the practice is known for successfully navigating complex political and economic environments to ensure the efficient execution of complex transactions. A key strength is its ability to call on¬†English and US law capability in London, which enables it to handle¬†Rule 144a offerings into the the US market.¬†Adam Farlow¬†¬†focuses mainly on¬†high yield transactions but applies his in-depth knowledge of US securities law on a broad range of debt deals.¬†Simon Porter¬†leads the firm's corporate trust practice and is also regarded as one of the UK's leading experts in Turkish deals. Together, they assisted Deutsche Trustee Company with the restructuring of more than ‚ā¨4bn in outstanding bonds of Abengoa.¬†Roy Pearce¬†is recommended for representing¬†issuers and investment banks in Eurobond issuance and debt restructuring, with a particular focus on offerings from Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS. His recent highlights include acting for mining and steel company¬†Metinvest on the restructuring of $2.3bn of debt.

CMS 'provides a high level of service, quick response on every request, high industry knowledge and excellent problem solving'. The practice is home to partners who have expertise beyond the DCM space and also handle securitisation, derivatives and other structured finance transactions. This sees them advise corporate clients on a broad range of treasury and funding requirements, as well as handling complex and multi-faceted transactions for investment banks. Practice head Michael Cavers and key partner Jason Harding 'have good all round knowledge and take the time to understand the commercial red lines and apply that to negotiating documentation'. Harding advised Northumbrian Water on its £300m bond offering, while Cavers acted for Masthaven Bank in a £6m initial issue of subordinated notes. Structured finance specialist Jason Brooks also handles straight debt deals, which included advising arranger Kind & Shaxson Capital on the establishment of a first-of-kind local authority bills programme. Securitisation and capital markets partner Neil Hamilton joined from Jones Day. 

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP handles bonds issued under New York law that are distributed to both US and European investors. The firm is 'committed to service,  has a short response times and the advice provided is solid', remarks one client. Among the firm's issuer clients for SEC-registered and Rule 144a securities offerings are blue-chip corporates such as Sappi, Unilever and British American Tobacco. It also represents numerous sovereign entities. As underwriter's counsel it has worked for major investment banks such as Citigroup, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan. Among its key deals from 2017 were six debt offerings for European Investment Bank with a combined value of $17.5bn. Co-head of the EMEA capital markets practice Philip Boeckman is the key partner and led those deals. Fellow practice co-head George Stephanakis is also recommended. Corporate partner Alyssa Caples plays a prominent role in the practice and she acted for British American Tobacco on a $17.25bn 144a/Reg S offering of fixed and floating rate notes. David Mercado's highlights included a $900m offering by plantation owner Celulosa Arauco y Constitución, in which he represented initial purchasers. He also acted for Credit Suisse on a $500m offering by Inversiones CMPC.

Dechert LLP handles the full range of international debt and equity transactions from its London office, which also handles liability management exercises. Its client roster is diverse and includes global investment banks, financial institutions and a wide range of issuers including sovereigns, quasi-sovereigns, corporates and investment funds. The practice is best known for its work in emerging markets, which has extensive experience in the Middle East and North Africa, the Mediterranean basin, Central and Eastern Europe, the CIS and Caucasus regions, and Central Asia. This focus on developing markets sees the practice handle highly innovative and first-of-kind transactions. 2017 highlights included acting for lead managers Barclays, Byblos Bank, JPMorgan and Société Générale de Banque au Liban on the Lebanese Republic's $3bn triple-tranche bond issuance under its $28bn GMTN programme, which represented the country's largest-ever sovereign bond issue. Camille Abousleiman, who has more than 25 years' experience in the market, led that deal with the support of US-qualified partner Patrick Lyons. They also advised the Kingdom of Bahrain on its $3bn combined issuance. Associate Jennifer Rees is a rising star and played a key role in both deals.

DLA Piper has a versatile finance practice in London in which the partners handle a range of capital markets and structured finance transactions. The firm handled many first-of-a-kind and innovative deals in 2017, which included transactions involving fintech-related assets, social investment bonds and masala bonds. Capital markets specialist Ronan Mellon acted for Axis Bank Limited, Nomura International, SBICAP and Standard Chartered Bank in the INR30bn debut masala bond issued by the National Highways Authority of India. Mellon also handled the first Rule 144a deal by an Indian Bank in 2017, when he advised Citigroup Global Markets Singapore, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank on the update of the US$5bn GMTN programme of Axis Bank. Mellon and Tony Lopez  also acted for St James's Oncology SPC Ltd and its investors, Aberdeen Infrastructure and Civis in the £261m bond refinancing of the oncology centre at the St. James’ University Teaching Hospital in Leeds. Also recommended are co-chair of the financial services group Vincent Keaveny, London head of finance and markets Mark Dwyer and global co-chair of finance and projects Martin Bartlam. Newly promoted partner Steven Krivinskas worked with Bartlam on a A$150m transaction in which issuer Places for People established an Australian MTN programme.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP handles a broad range of debt capital markets deals including sovereign bonds, equity-linked issuances, liability management deals, MTN programmes and regulatory capital matters. The firm has a prominent role in the issuer side of the market thanks to its stellar corporate client base, though it also acts for financial institutions in their role as bookrunners and managers. Peter Allen, who acts for both issuers and underwriters, is highly regarded for his long experience in debt capital markets, particularly in cross-border deals. His track record includes work for South African power utility Eskom on its global MTN programme. Duncan Kellaway is another leading light in the practice. He frequently acts for corporates, banks and sovereign entities in equity-linked issuance and transactions in emerging markets, for which his issuer clients include MDM, HCFB, Eurochem, Nedbank and Transnet. He also handles liability management for clients such as Arion Bank and Atlas Copco. Stuart Grider left the firm to become an independent legal consultant.

At Hogan Lovells International LLP, Andrew Carey (who 'makes an effort to get to know his clients') has more than 25 years' experience in international debt offerings including corporate and sovereign bonds. He frequently handles emerging markets deals, which last year included representing African Export-Import Bank in the update of its $5bn EMTN programme, and Banco do Brasil in the issuance of $1bn in senior debt. Senior associate Jonathan Malim, who frequently advises on issuances in the automotive sector, had a hand in those transactions and is a rising star in the practice. He also worked with Sylvain Dhennin, who focuses largely on high yield deals but also has a key role in other deals involving US counterparties, in advising senior creditors of the Mriya Group on the restructuring and defaulted debt of Mriya Agro Holding in Ukraine. The 'very responsive, commercial and proactive' Kit Johnson, who specialises in acting for corporate trustees in capital markets transactions, is highly regarded for his work for clients including Bank of New York Mellon, which he represented in updates by Alfa-Bank of Russia and ABH Holdings to their loan participation note programmes.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP fields a strong private placement practice and has a growing workload of emerging markets debt deals. The firm is known for handling innovative and technically challenging deals, notably in the CIS region, and it has a prominent role in the sovereign bond market. A prime example from 2017 was its work for the Republic of Tajikistan on its $500m Rule 144a/Regulation S notes offering to finance the construction of the Rogun hydropower plant. Carter Brod, who led that deal, is dual-qualified in US and English capital markets law and has more than 20 years' experience in London. He specialises in advising issuers on the full range of debt transactions including Eurobonds, MTN programmes, sovereign bonds, liability management and convertible bonds. His other highlights included acting for Bank of America Merrill Lynch as lead manager in Energoatom's $250m bond offering. The firm also advised Prudential Insurance Company of America as purchaser in more than 20 private placements last year, with a combined value of more than £2.3bn. Thomas O’Connor moved to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Morrison & Foerster LLP is a key player in the market for US private placements for both issuers and underwriters. It has 'a prominent position, which has held for many years, thanks to the depth of its team and the great market knowledge it has built up'. Among its recent highlights were a £30m deal for Lowland Investment Company, a $220m transaction for Norspan LNG VIII and a $500m placement of notes for Informa PLC. Scott Ashton, Brian Bates (who 'has for many years been very active for issuers in the private placements market'), Peter Green, and Jeremy Jennings-Mares were the key lawyers in all of these deals. The firm also handles public debt offerings and Bates frequently acts in deals relating to infrastructure development, shipping, mining and real estate, predominantly on behalf of issuers. Green focuses mainly on structured finance, but his practice also encompasses the establishment of EMTN programmes. Jennings-Mares advises on equity-linked structured securities, MTN programmes and cross-border debt matters. Last year, he handled the update of a $65bn EMTN programme on behalf of the underwriters.

Reed Smith LLP¬†¬†has 'an excellent team that fully understands the matters at hand'. The firm is best known for its high yield practice, which acts mainly for trustees, but in that role it also has a significant presence in the broader DCM market. Its London office has both English and US law practitioners including Europe and Middle East managing partner¬†Tamara Box, structured finance and debt capital markets partner¬†Ranajoy Basu¬†and¬†Daniel Winterfeldt, who¬†frequently represents US, UK, European and Asian investment banks and corporate issuers in Rule 144A and Regulation S equity and debt offerings. Structured finance and capital markets senior associate¬†Priya Taneja¬†is recommended for corporate trust matters. Basu and Taneja acted for Citibank and HSBC as trustee and security agent respectively in issuance with a combined value of ¬£630m by Iceland Bondco. They also advised security agent and note trustee US Bank Trustees on a ‚ā¨650m offering of senior secured notes by container shipping company CMA CGM.

The debt practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP handles a diverse range of debt capital markets transactions including Eurobonds, project bonds, sovereign debt issuance and convertible bonds. The lawyers focus on the more complex debt offerings in the market for both corporate issuers and underwriters. Its standout issuer-side deals from 2017 included Stanley Black & Decker's $3bn US, Euro and Regulation S commercial paper note programmes. On the underwriter side, it acted for HSBC Securities in a $1bn offering of senior unsecured notes, and $3bn of perpetual subordinated contingent convertible securities. Head of European corporate finance Danny Tricot played a central role in those deals and one client notes that 'there is no doubting his understanding of his subject area; he explains things well and is a pleasure to deal with'. Head of the London office Pranav Trivedi is also recommended. He advised Brunswick Rail Limited on the restructuring of the $600m in guaranteed notes issued by a subsidiary. The deal was complicated by the fact that the company's revenues are predominantly denominated in roubles but its debt had to be serviced in US dollars. corporate finance counsel Maria Protopapa also worked on that deal. James Healy retired.

Addleshaw Goddard has moved into the debt capital markets arena with the hire of experienced partner Beth Collett from Allen & Overy LLP. Collett advises on public listed and privately placed issuances for issuers, managers and trustees. Her focus on bond issuances in the social housing market fits well with the firm's strength in that sector, and with its private placement practice, though she also handles debt issuances by corporates in other market sectors. Her work since joining the firm included advising Barclays Bank, HSBC Bank, RBC Europe and Prudential Trustee Company as joint bookrunners and trustees on the issuance of £500m in secured bonds for London & Quadrant Housing Trust, which is the largest own name bond issue to date in the social housing sector. Collett also acted on behalf of bookrunners Banco Santander, Barclays Bank, HSBC Bank and Lloyds Bank, and trustee Prudential Trustee on Company Notting Hill Housing Trust's £400m secured bond issuance.

Jones Day has a 'user-friendly' capital markets practice that handles investment grade debt, equity-linked deals and emerging markets issuance. Drew Salvest is the key partner and he has extensive experience in London-based US and international capital markets transactions, with a particular focus on securitisations and other complex structured offerings. He regularly advises banks and large corporates including independent commodity trading house Trafigura, for which he handled the Rule 144A/Regulation S issuance of three series of notes secured on trade receivables originated by Trafigura. For the same client, he advised on the initial issuance and a subsequent tap on a series of Perpetual Resettable Step Up Subordinated Securities listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, and he also acted as international counsel on the issuance of a RMB2.35bn bond. This was one of the first non-sovereign foreign offerings of renminbi-denominated Panda bonds. Also recommended is Giles Elliott, who co-leads the banking, finance and securities practice and is also head of the London corporate group.

K&L Gates LLP¬†is 'a good firm for corporate trustee advice on bond issues; it offers a good level of value for money and has an experienced team providing sound advice'. 'We would certainly recommend them for straightforward transactional advice', remarks one client.¬†Structured finance lawyer¬†Sean Crosky¬†is the key contact and he has experience in a wide variety of financing transactions including debt capital markets, structured products, receivables financings, restructurings and Islamic finance for trustees, loan agents and corporate service providers. Clients describe him as 'a very personable and experienced lawyer who is a pleasure to work with'.¬†Natalie Boyd¬†is also recommended. A key highlight from 2017 saw Crosky act for the trustee in an ‚ā¨80m refinancing and redemption of bonds. GLAS Trust Corporation,¬†Deutsche Trustee Company Limited,¬†Intertrust Trustees Limited and¬†Citicorp Trustee Company Limited are among the firm's key clients.

Macfarlanes LLP¬†has a small dedicated DCM team in London that focuses on¬†complex capital markets transactions for a diverse¬†client base of financial institutions, corporates, investors and other market participants. The practice acted for¬†Venn Partners LLP, PRS Operations Limited and PRS Finance plc in their capacities as manager, licensee and issuer¬†respectively in a ¬£3.5bn debt programme connected to the¬†Private Rented Housing Guarantee Scheme. The firm also advised Venn on the amendment of this programme and the issuance of notes with a combined value of ¬£131m. Another key deal saw the firm advise Ben Oldman Partners and the issuer, Ben Oldman Real Estate Secured Bond, on a ‚ā¨40m offering backed by real estate investments in southern European countries.¬†Richard Fletcher¬†is the sole partner in the practice and he frequently advises on MTN programmes, commercial paper, project bonds and infrastructure financing. He handled Castle Trust Direct's ¬£1.5bn programme for the issuance of fixed and floating rate notes to be offered by Castle Trust as Fortress Bonds.

O'Melveny¬†is a growing force in the market for US private placements; in 2017 it handled more than¬†a dozen deals with a combined value in excess of $3bn for debut and repeat issuers. It also handled numerous¬†deal amendments, reorganisations and pre-payments. Highlights included acting for Goshawk Aviation in the¬†largest-ever US private placement issuance by an aircraft lessor; the deal raised¬†$566.5m from ten US institutional investors. In the real estate sector, the practice acted for REIT Segro plc in a ‚ā¨650m deal to¬†refinance the company‚Äôs existing bonds and secured debt. The firm also handled deals for testing and inspection company Bureau Veritas and cosmetics company Oriflame.¬†Andrew Weiler¬†leads the practice and has more than 20 years' experience in the market; dual-qualified in New York and English law, Weiler advises issuers from a wide range of industry sectors including¬†housing, real estate, consumer goods, manufacturing, utilities, aviation, technology, retail, shipping and logistics. Corporate finance associate¬†Amy Cheung¬†and counsel¬†Sevda Staykova¬† are also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP handles all types of debt capital market issues, but it is best known for bond offerings to finance projects, education and social housing development, thanks to its firm-wide focus on those sectors. The firm is a longstanding advisor to UK clearing banks. It also represents institutional investors on large-scale privately placed bond issues, particularly where UK-based issuers are raising money in the US market. Head of capital markets Edward Sunderland leads the practice from Birmingham and his highlight deals from 2017 included advising arranger Strand Hanson and trustee Prudential Trustee Company on the issue of a second tranche of notes by US-listed company Carpe Valorem. Michael Watson is recommended for project bonds, as is head of energy and infrastructure Stephen Tobin. Sharon Smith has a broad debt capital markets and securitisation practice and she frequently advises on listed wholesale and retail bonds, project bonds and debt restructurings. Head of corporate trust Grace Hui is recommended for advice to trustees, issuers, paying agents and account banks. She recently worked with Sunderland on the £370m bond issued by Aberdeen City Council.

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